Remembering the Battle of the Somme, World War One

Remembering the Battle of the Somme, WW I

July 1, 2016 marks the 100th anniversary of the beginning of the Battle of The Somme. On that single worst day in British Army history, exactly a century ago, 20,000 British soldiers were killed and another 40,000 wounded.

The Battle of the Somme saw the British and French armies pitted against the Imperial German forces from 1 July and 18 November 1916 on both sides of upper reaches of the River Somme in France. It was the largest battle of World War I on the Western Front. In all, more than 1 million soldiers would be killed or wounded. The Somme is considered by many to be the worst battle of all of WWI and one of the bloodiest battles in human history.

As Europe and the British Commonwealth marks the Battle of Somme centennial with grand commemorations, please join us at Hawaii’s WWI Memorial Natatorium on July 1, 2016 at sunset (7:09 p.m.) to hear the playing of Taps and observe a moment of solemn remembrance for the soldiers who gave their lives in service to their country.

The World War I Centennial Commission

The U.S. World War I Centennial Commission was created in 2013 by an Act of Congress. Its mission is to facilitate the commemoration of the Centennial of WWI through the end of the Great War in 2018. More Americans gave their lives during that war than in Korea and Vietnam combined. Despite profoundly shaping the next 100 years for the U.S., WWI is America’s forgotten war.

Beginning with our April 1917 entry into WWI, Hawaii’s Task Force will share the history of Hawaii’s contribution to that war; honor the service and sacrifice of kama’aina; and commemorate the centennial of this global event on the 100th anniversary of Armistice Day, November 11, 2018.

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The War Memorial Natatorium

Hawaii’s official World War I memorial, the Natatorium was designed as a “living memorial” to honor the contributions of more than 10,000 Hawaii residents who served in WWI. The Natatorium opened on August 24, 1927 on the birthday of inaugural swimmer and Olympic gold medalist, Duke Kahanamoku. World records were set in this pool, which hosted international swimming competitions from the 1920s through 1960s. The War Memorial Natatorium is on the State and National Registers of Historic Places and was named one of America’s Treasures by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. It has been closed to the public since 1979.

For more information visit Remembering the Battle of the Somme, WW I

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